Dance has always had its own fashion. Costumes that move with the rhythmic maneuvers of the skilled dancers are a vital part of most dance cultures. Whether you tap your toes to Irish stepdance, or move your mojo in a marvelous mambo, you must dress to impress. Let’s take a look at some iconic dances that have been making their move on runway style.
Ballet is a delicate dance that originated during the Italian renaissance, and then filtered into Russia and France, and around the world. Although originally simple garments made of cotton or silk, ballet wear started to evolve into a more elaborate design in the 17th century, when real gold and stones were woven into the fabric. In the 18th century, skirts were made shorter, raising them a few inches off the ground, and gems were replaced with ribbons, flowers, and lace. The 19th century introduced corsets to ballet, as tighter designs became more popular. Ballet fashion started to show off ballet form in the 20th century, when the movements of the ballerina became the most important aspect of the design. Now, tutus and unitards are dominate, whether they be structured tutus or relaxed ones, which flow with the movement of the dancer.
Ballet attire transfers wonderfully onto the runway, as tutus and body suits skyrocket in popularity. Wear them together, or pair a flouncing tutu midi skirt with a crop top. Body suits go well with everything, from jeans to a pair of tights. Even ballerina practice attire can be seen in the athleisure trend, with leggings becoming a popular casual garment, and leg warmers going in and out of fashion.
Stay on pointe with these fabrics, or plunge into plié with this Plunge Bodysuit:
Ballroom dancing is done in pairs, and refers to a traditional style of competitive dance. There are many styles of ballroom dancing, such as the Foxtrot, the Waltz, or the Samba. In the beginning, the 17th century, women wore hoop skirts with tight sleeves and low necklines. Those gowns faded into ones with bustles instead of hoop skirts, and bows were all the rage. Waistlines were also raised, in an attempt to accentuate the bust. In the 19th century, dresses were loose on the bottom but tight fitting on the top.
Ballroom dancing costumes are reminiscent of evening gowns, which plaster the runway in every collection. Tight fitting corsets and poofy skirts that charm audiences at ballroom dancing events now enchant viewers at runway shows and photo shoots. Low cut necks are always popular, as are raised waistlines.
Have a ball with these fabrics, or dress up with this Chic Petticoat:
3. Belly Dancing
Originating in the Middle East, this dance focuses on intricate torso movements, hence the name belly dancing. The most common belly dance attire is the bedlah, which is Arabic for suit. This entails a fitted bra or top, a belt, and a long skirt or harem pants. These can vary depending on the country that the dance is taking place in. Styles in Lebanon typically feature a more sheer skirt, while in Turkey the dancer may wear a more triangular belt.
From sequined bras to flowing, sheer skirts, belly dancing is all over the runway. Throw a sheer top over a bejeweled brassiere for a showy ensemble, or pair harem pants with a crop top and sandals to enjoy the summer wind. Long, sheer skirts paired with body suits are an excellent way to get leggy. It’s clear when you look at any of the Victoria’s Secret fantasy bras that they are inspired by belly dance fashion, but the 2014 bras take the cake.
Bare your belly with these fabrics:
Disco was all the rage in the 70’s, as glamorous and glittering girls strutted their stuff to the Bee Gees. Sheer flowing dresses were popular, but so were tight jumpsuits and revealing tops. The jumpsuits were often referred to as ‘catsuits,’ as they were hip hugging and bust boosting. Sequins and glitters were everywhere, too.
The 70’s are back, which means disco is dancing on the runway. Designers are taking the glitters and tightness of the 70’s and mixing it with modern fashion. Jumpsuits and catsuits are all over, as they cycle into mainstream fashion. Flowing dresses and even bell bottom pants can be seen in the designer collections. This style is perfect for fancy dates to night clubs or a girls night out.
Get groovy with these fabrics, or boogie down with this Sequin Skirt:
The flamenco is an art form from southern Spain, which encompasses traditional folk instrumentals, singing, and dance. Although it originated in Spain, it is exceptionally popular in Japan, where there are more flamenco schools than in Spain! The traditional dress has two parts, a flounced skirt and tight bodice. They are typically red, but have recently started to vary in color.
Bustiers and flounced skirts are no stranger to the runway, and the fiery red of the flamenco dancers is very popular right now. A flounced skirt is perfect for an evening out, as it’s a classy, sexy statement piece. A fitted bodice goes well with anything, paired with jeans for a casual date or layered under a blazer and pencil skirt for a more professional look. Even the ruffles on the runway can be found in the flamenco style!
Get fired up over flamenco fashion with these fabrics, or this Ruffle Bodice Maxi Dress:
6. Hip Hop
Hip Hop dancing can be broken into several factions; breaking, popping, and locking. It started in the 70’s, when hip hop dancers wore mostly sportswear. Tracksuits, bulky gold chains, and bright colors started to take center stage in the 80’s, and African and Latin influences started to take over on the fashion aspect, although hip hops roots have always been in African and Latin scenes. The style of 40’s gangsters started to influence hip hop fashion in the mid 90’s, and Snoop Dog’s SNL appearance in a Hilfiger sweatshirt caused the shirt to sell out the very next day.
Hip Hop has been influential on fashion, and fashion has been influential on hip hop. Models are walking down the runway in gaudy furs and gold chains, and hip hop is clearly where it comes from. The Ankara prints that inspired many hip hop fashion styles have made their way onto the runway, and bright colors are reminiscent of the 80’s hip hop style. Where this trend anywhere, look relaxed in an over-sized tracksuit at the fanciest restaurant you know, or dress down in denim overalls at the park.
Pop, lock, and drop it in these fabrics, or get down with this Fur Vest:
Salsa originated as a social dance in the Caribbean. Typically, women wear revealing outfits covered in sequins, and large heals. The dresses are fitted to display the hips and bust, accentuating the most risque parts of the body. They are mostly dark and shocking in color, often red to evoke passion. Fringe tends to be popular on salsa dresses, as they move hypnotically with the movements of the dancer.
The sexy silhouette of salsa style can be seen sauntering down the runway in many collections. Take this style out tonight to the local dive bar, or go dancing in the city. Whether it’s a red dress with swaying tassels, moving with the body of a dancer, or a tight and blood orange, ruffled cocktail that bounces to the beat, you can’t go wrong with salsa style. Heidi Klum’s iconic fringe dress is clearly salsa inspired!
Feel suave in salsa style with these fabrics:
Do you love to dance? Or is your favorite move the lawnmower? Let us know in the comments!